The Political Fight Over Cannabis Is Over, But The Legal Battles Have Just Begun

Article by Brian Platt, Canada.com

The political fight over cannabis is over, but the legal battles have just begun In this file photo taken on April 20, 2018 showing smoke lingers over Parliament Hill as people smoke marijuana during the annual 4/20 rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. Canada’s Senate passed a law Thursday legalizing recreational marijuana, moving it closer to becoming the first member of the Group of Seven nations to legalize the production, sale and consumption of the drug. The bill to legalize recreational cannabis has been one of the most fought-over pieces of legislation of Justin Trudeau's tenure as prime minister, but now that it's taken effect, much of the political opposition seems to have evaporated.

The bill to legalize recreational cannabis has been one of the most fought-over pieces of legislation of Justin Trudeau’s tenure as prime minister, but now that it’s taken effect, much of the political opposition seems to have evaporated.

As the new law made its way through Parliament, Conservatives complained that the Liberals were moving too quickly to legalize weed. Tory health critic Marilyn Gladu went so far as to read out a cautionary poem in the House of Commons last December to express her displeasure (“The provinces and police in every town / Have all asked the Liberals to slow this bill down.”)

Meanwhile, New Democrats took aim at the government for refusing to decriminalize the drug as legalization approached. And last spring, the Senate threatened to derail the bill by pushing for major amendments.

But the bill survived all those legislative hurdles, and recreational marijuana officially became legal on Oct. 17.

Conservatives still say the Liberals rushed legalization, and that some tweaks might be necessary depending on how things play out over the next year. The NDP argues the Liberals should fully expunge the criminal records of those with past convictions for minor cannabis offences, rather than just offering pardons.

Still, it seems unlikely that either party will make a big issue of legal weed in next year’s federal election campaign.

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